Jeannine Bryant: Denali National Park Road


“This was their dream, and so I got invited to make sure they made it back safely,” she says. “I just had to go and take photos. It was just breathtaking.”

Bryan, a special education aide at an Anchorage elementary school, went to high school in southern Florida and met her husband—an Alaskan—at the University of Florida. Jonathan coaxed her to the North, and she’s never looked back.

“I married the only Alaskan out of 40,000 undergraduates at the University of Florida, and we never want to live anywhere else. I love Alaska. There’s so much beauty— the animals, the wildlife. There’s always something to take a picture of. It’s always changing. Like the northern lights. It can’t get any better than this.”

Bryan and her husband like to make regular visits to Alaska’s national parks in their time off—Katmai, Kenai Fjords, and many trips into Denali. (Three times last winter!) This time, Bryan was two or three hours into the shuttle bus ride when it approached the overlook at Polychrome Pass at about Mile 46.

The view seized her. The colors and the clouds and the morning glow in the sky drew her in. It was irresistible.

“I just knew I needed to get off the bus. It was a scene and I wanted it. I never wanted a photo more than that one. There was just something magical about the light.”
Bryant took about 10 photos and then, she moved on. As the day unfolded, she viewed expanses of tundra that had morphed red—an “insanely beautiful” sight. She spied 14 bears, a few wolves in the distance. All of it spectacular. But nothing topped the Polychrome vista.

“Going to Denali or any of the parks, there’s always some special highlight. One year there was the ground squirrel that was entertaining. Or missing the wolf cross over the hill. There’s always something memorable to take away from each one of our trips. And (Polychrome) was definitely the highlight for me that year.”

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